Sunday, February 20, 2005

Basic Ideas About Success Pt. 3 - Enthusiasm

What is enthusiasm? For the most part it is one of those you know when you see it. If I were to come up with a definition it would be - Enthusiasm is a vibrant outward expression of your internal attitude. In other words, it is what people see, and react to about yourself. Enthusiasm is contagious.

Here is an example. At work I have a habit of saying "Good morning" to everyone. Well, there was one person (I will call her Mrs. X) who would basically ignore me day after day, even if I looked her right in the eye when I said it. To be honest, I was starting to feel resentment whenever I saw her. So, to remedy the situation, I decided that I would make her respond in a happy way to my "Good morning, Mrs. X". But how? Enthusiasm. The next morning I gave her a huge smile, waved, turned on my enthusiasm, gave a thumbs up and said "Good morning Mrs. X". I was practically dripping with enthusiasm. What happened? She was almost giddy in her response of "Good morning Mike!, how are you today?" Enthusiasm is contagious, and it had a lasting effect. Now I look forward to seeing her in the morning, and sometimes she even says an enthusiastic "Good morning" to me first.

Enthusiasm works. It comes through in the way you talk, your facial expressions, the way you dress, your posture, and any other number of ways. Think about this. Would you feel confident in purchasing a new car from a salesperson who talked in hushed tones, wouldn’t look you in the eye, had a weak handshake, didn’t smile, slouched, and dressed like a slob? I wouldn’t.

I’m not suggesting being phony, or being nauseatingly over-the-top. Just a real enthusiasm that comes from within. If you are not enthusiastic, there are ways you can start improving right away. First, you have to believe in what you want to be enthusiastic about. If you don’t believe in something, and you try to be enthused, you will come across to others as being phony. If you believe, your enthusiasm will be genuine.

Second, listen to your voice. Increasing volume, pitch, and speed when you talk improves your enthusiasm on the inside. Try it. Think of something you are enthusiastic about. Now talk about it quietly, in a lower pitch, and speak a little slower. Do you feel less enthused? So do I. Now do the opposite. Think of something you are not enthused about. Now talk about a little louder (you don’t have to shout), in a higher pitch, and a bit faster. Do you feel a little more enthusiastic about it? Probably.

Last, stand up straight, smile, give a firm handshake, and look people in the eye. I group all of these together because these are the ones you can practice anytime, whether you are enthused or not. I firmly believe that these things are good habits all of the time. They are also crucial for conveying enthusiasm.

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